Dementia and Alzheimer's

Dementia is a collection of symptoms that result from damage to the brain.

Signs of dementia may include:

  • memory loss
  • mood changes
  • problems with communication and reasoning
  • difficulty with tasks that require organisation and planning
  • becoming confused in unfamiliar environments

The early symptoms are often mild and it may take some time before they become severe.  

What should I do if I am worried about someone’s memory?

Memory problems can be caused by a number of health problems, not just dementia. If you're worried, it's best to get the person you know to go see their local GP who will be able to reassure them or give them the diagnosis they need. 

Living with or caring for someone with dementia

People can still live well with dementia and if you are living with dementia or care for someone with dementia there is lots of help and support available. 

Some of the many activities and resources which might be helpful to you:

Alzheimer's Society
Offers a wide range of guidance and support for people with dementia and their families. Local Dementia Cafes offer activities, games, talks and discussion in a relaxed social setting. Staff are on hand with advice and information. 

Singing for the Brain
These fun sessions help people build on their memory for song and music. Even when other memories are hard to retrieve, music is easy to recall. Find a session near you.

Barnet Carers Centre
Information, advice and support for carers.

Age UK Barnet
Offers lunch clubs, social activities, exercise classes and much more

Dementia Club UK
There are Dementia Club sessions at 5 venues in Barnet. People suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are welcome to attend with their carers, friends and families. Also welcome are those who have lost someone with dementia and are now lonely.

Dementia-friendly swimming sessions

Dementia-friendly film screenings 
Free for anyone over 60 and two guests of any age, such as friends, family or carers. Screenings are shown with brighter lighting, quieter sound and an interval in the middle of the film for a sing-a-long and comfort break.
Phoenix Cinema 52 High Rd, East Finchley, London N2 9PJ.

My Health London 
Find information on the signs and symptoms of dementia, how to live well with dementia and caring for someone with dementia.

NHS Choices
A diagnosis can help people with dementia get the right treatment and support. With treatment and support, many people are able to lead active, fulfilled lives.

My House of Memories app
An easy to use app that allows you to explore objects from the past and share memories together. It can be used by anyone, but has been designed for, and with, people living with dementia and their carers.

The Reader Organisation
Shared reading groups for people with dementia and their carers.

The Young Dementia Network
Support for people living with young onset dementia, their family and friends.

Barnet Dementia Action Alliance
Barnet Dementia Action Alliance is committed to supporting people with dementia to live a full and active life. Ensuring that they and their friends and family are empowered to maintain their own health and wellbeing.


What is the process for getting a formal diagnosis of dementia?

Care pathway

In Barnet, we have an integrated 'care pathway' to help people who have dementia and their families. The pathway aims to ensure continuity of care as the individual's needs change.

See your GP first

If you raise your concerns about your memory and your GP feels further investigation is required, then you will be referred to the Barnet Memory Assessment Service (MAS). This is based at the Springwell Centre, Barnet Hospital.

Memory Assessment Service (MAS)

You will have an assessment to look at your mental and physical health.  During the assessment, you may be asked to complete a number of activities and tasks designed to assess memory and recall. You may also be referred for a head scan and be asked to have some blood tests.

Overall results of these tests enable the team to determine the reason for your memory problem.  Some of the outcomes which may occur following these tests include:

  • You may receive a diagnosis of a memory problem, such as dementia. Treatment options will be discussed with you.  If you are diagnosed with dementia, the MAS will talk to you about treatments which may slow down the progression of the illness. There is also counselling, education and support to help you and your family to understand and manage the illness. This support may include support through a Dementia Advisor
  • It may not be possible to make a definite diagnosis and the team may ask you to come back in 9-12 months for a review. You can ask to be re-referred to the service by your GP. The assessment may suggest that you do not have a memory problem and you will be discharged and directed to other services where appropriate.

If you need advice and support you can contact Citizens Advice Barnet, the Alzheimer’s Society or we can have a conversation with you.